Health Notes #34

Why Do We Need Alternatives to Frying?

Frying seems to be Americas favorite way to cook. The average American eats something fried at least three times a day. Eggs, pancakes, French toast, bacon, potatoes, grits, hamburgers, French fries, and the list goes on and on.

Frying in any manner, no matter what oil you use, spoils the wholesomeness of the food, because temperatures up to 600-700o F. may be obtained. At these temperatures the unsaturated fats behave as if they were saturated. Thus, fried foods are more likely than unfried foods to increase the likelihood of developing hardening of the arteries.

When fat is reheated to frying temperatures the second time, as in a deep fat fryer, the fat is more likely to develop cancer producing agents. Significant quantities of cancer-producing chemicals are found in charcoal grilled meat. The fat from the meat drops onto the hot coals and becomes a vapor in the heat, and then re-deposits on the steak.

Very hot temperatures destroy certain vitamins and may alter the major proteins. Most fried foods can be baked just as easily. Baking temperatures are commonly 350o F. Frying temperatures begin at 450 degrees and may reach 600-700 during ordinary frying. If fried foods become burned or scorched, temperatures up to 1000 or 1100 degrees may have been reached.

Most people agree that the addition of fat improves the flavor of food. Usually though, a small fraction of the fat that you normally use would be quite adequate. Adding more fat than you need only leaves the food greasy and adds more calories. It also makes it harder for the body to handle your food.

Some tips: Try spraying the pans you fry or bake in. Sauté your onions, etc. in a combination of 1/2 oil and 1/2 water, (2 T. each or less). Try Hash browns in the waffle iron, or in a sprayed Teflon pan with onions and seasonings.

Other ideas that you may try out your taste buds on are:

Oven French Fries

Cut about 5 med. potatoes into lengthwise French fry strips, approximately 1/4 inch thick. Put these in a bowl and over the top sprinkle:

1-2 Tbs. oil
1 t. salt
2 t. onion pwd.
1/2 t. garlic pwd.

Mix together well. Spread evenly on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes at 400o F, flip and continue baking until as crisp and brown as your family likes them. (Approx. 20 more minutes.)

To cut down the time you may use leftover baked potatoes. Leave the skins on and cut into desired lengthwise strips. Follow the directions above baking only until desired crispness. Stir carefully.

Sunflower French Toast

1-3/4 c. water
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
8 dates or 2 T. honey or one banana
1/8 tsp. salt
1 T. vanilla or maple flavoring
8-12 slices whole grain bread

Blend all but the bread until smooth. Pour batter into a shallow baking dish. Coat both sides of bread with the batter. Place on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 400o F for 10 min. then at 350o F until the toast is nicely browned. You may want to put it under the broiler so it will brown quickly at the end. You may also fry in a sprayed pan until it is browned, but I prefer the oven.

Roasted Nuts

Nuts are so good for you but the store-bought roasted kind are not-so-good because they are roasted at high temperatures and loaded with oil and salt. Try the method below and see what you think.

Mix 2 tsp. salt and 1/3 c. hot water in a bowl until the salt is dissolved. Add 4 c. nuts of your choice. A mixture is fine. Stir until the nuts are well coated. Drain. Then spread in one layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 200o F for about 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Let them cool then put in an airtight jar.

Try out some favorite herbs on your vegetables and cut back or cut out completely the margarine or oil. Experiment and enjoy.

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